Global Processing

Coca-Cola Buys Majority of UK Fruit Drink Company

April 12, 2010
According to the Associated Press, Coca-Cola will increase its stake of Innocent Drinks to take a majority ownership of the British fruit and smoothie drinks maker, although Innocent will retain control of the business. The increased stake comes a year after Coca-Cola initially bought an 18 percent stake for 30 million pounds, or about $44 million. Coca-Cola spokeswoman Kerry Kerr said Coca-Cola will buy an additional 40 percent, giving it 58 percent ownership. Terms have not been disclosed. Innocent said the acquired stake had been owned by two of the company''s original investors who want to retire, Maurice Pinto and Jules Hydleman. Coca-Cola will also buy the minority of shares from other founders. Innocent has been known for its mission of providing natural, healthy foods since its founding in 1998 by college friends. The company also donates 10 percent of its annual profits to a charity it runs that pays for projects in the countries where its fruit originates. Kerry said she was not yet sure if Innocent''s products will be available in the U.S.